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2 Oct 2006 : Column 2583W—continued

Disability Equality

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made an assessment of which policy areas will be considered in his report on progress towards disability equality within the work and pensions policy sectors due to be published in December 2008. [90982]

Mrs. McGuire: All relevant areas of DWP policy will be considered in the report on progress. We will seek an assessment of progress from the principal authorities which deliver services funded or regulated by the Secretary of State including local authorities administering housing benefit, as well as the executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies of the Department for Work and Pensions.

To inform the report we will gather evidence from survey data, performance indicators and statistics and from further research.

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps were taken to involve disabled people in the production of his Department's disability equality scheme. [90983]

Mrs. McGuire: My Department has involved disabled people and organisations representing disabled people in the production of its disability equality scheme. Officials in my Department invited seven major organisations (Leonard Cheshire Foundation, MENCAP, MIND, RADAR, RNIB, RNID, SCOPE) to help develop our disability equality scheme. DWP, at both a corporate and agency level, has used existing customer channels and specific events to consult individual customers and organisations, and has a representative from the Disability Rights Commission on its Equality Schemes Working Group. In relation to its employees, DWP has consulted them through internal communications, its staff network group and the departmental trade union.

Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households in the Sunderland City Council area include a person with a learning disability who receives the care component of disability living allowance at the (a) highest, (b) middle and (c) lowest rate. [85422]

Mrs. McGuire: The administration of disability living allowance is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Disability and Carers Service, Mr. Terry Moran. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.


2 Oct 2006 : Column 2584W

Letter from Vivien Hopkins:

Recipients of disability living allowance with learning difficulties by rate of care award as at November 2005 in the Sunderland local authority
Care component Number

Total with care component

1,210

Highest rate

410

Middle rate

200

Lowest rate

610

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Sunderland city council is the same as Sunderland local authority. 3. Local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory. 4. Figures are based on the care component condition only. 5. The number of claimants does not equate to the number of households as there may be more than one person in a household with learning difficulties claiming DLA. 6. Figures include cases where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. Data.

Identity Fraud

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to reduce identity fraud in the benefits system; and what discussions he has had with (a) the Home Office and (b) related Government agencies on the subject. [73449]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) overall aim is to always establish the correct identity of a person prior to providing a benefit or service.

Before entitlement to benefit can be considered, an individual and their partner need to satisfy Section 1(1b) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. This requires the customer to provide enough information and evidence to confirm that a national insurance number (NINO) quoted on the claim is their own. Where a customer does not know their NINO, they are required to provide enough information and evidence in order that the correct NINO can be traced. If the customer does not have a NINO, they are required to verify their identity and provide enough information in order that a NINO can be issued.

We have established secure procedures for the allocation of national insurance numbers to adults, conducting rigorous checks to ensure that adult national insurance numbers are only issued to those who have undergone an evidence of identity interview.

DWP staff are trained in preventing identity fraud and refer any suspected cases for investigation. DWP prosecutes for identity fraud offences, including
2 Oct 2006 : Column 2585W
attempts to obtain national insurance numbers using false documentation. This forms a useful deterrence against those fraudsters who attempt to infiltrate DWP systems.

DWP expects to maximise the use of the proposed Identity Card across its businesses when ascertaining an individual’s right to benefit and we are working with the Home Office to develop such future applications.

DWP is represented on the Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee which has a remit to implement measures to counter identity fraud. Other representatives of this group include the private sector and other Government Departments such as HMRC with whom we work closely.

Work is ongoing through this Committee to implement measures against identity fraud that can be put in place in advance of the proposed National Identity Scheme.

Identity Verification

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what procedures are in place to verify an individual’s identity (a) before he or she is allocated a national insurance number and (b) before he or she has access to the benefit system. [73445]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department follows a robust process to verify the individual's identity prior to the allocation of a national insurance number (NINO). This process includes a check to ensure that the applicant does not already hold a NINO, and if appropriate will be followed by a face-to-face interview designed to build up a picture of the individual’s circumstances. This will involve document examination checks to ensure the authenticity of any documentary evidence provided in support of the application; and corroborative checks with third parties (including other Government Departments) to verify information supplied during the interview.


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Only when Jobcentre Plus is satisfied as to the individual's identity will a NINO be allocated.

Before entitlement to benefit can be considered an individual and their partner need to satisfy section 1(1B) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 regarding NINO provision. This requires the customer to provide enough information and evidence to confirm that the NINO quoted on the claim is their own. Rigorous checking procedures are built into benefit processes to ensure that the gateway to the benefits system is secure. Anyone who has acquired a NINO does not have automatic access to the benefits system and the use of a NINO in isolation is not sufficient to obtain benefits.

Where a customer does not know their NINO, they are required to provide enough information and evidence in order that the correct NINO can be traced. If the customer does not have a NINO, they are required to verify their identity and provide enough information in order that a NINO can be issued.

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of people leaving incapacity benefit began claiming again within a year of leaving the benefit in each of the last five years for which figures are available; what that percentage was (a) in Pathways to Work pilot areas and (b) in the rest of the country in each year; and what percentage were aged (i) over 50 and (ii) under 50 years in each year. [88001]

Mrs. McGuire: Pathways was launched in October 2003, in three Jobcentre Plus districts and had rolled out to a further four districts by the end of 2004. The table shows the available information on those who reclaimed incapacity benefit within a year of terminating their previous claim.


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2 Oct 2006 : Column 2588W
Incapacity benefit (IB) terminations in years ending November, where a further claim to IB was made within 52 weeks of termination, by age and area and as a percentage of all reclaims
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

All areas

21,700

22,500

21,500

21,100

19,100

Percentage of all areas

100

100

100

10

100

50+

700

700

700

600

(1)400

Percentage of all areas

3

3

3

3

2

Under 50

21,000

21,700

20,800

20,600

18,700

Percentage of all areas

97

96

97

98

98

All Pathways areas

2,300

2,200

2,200

2,400

1,800

Percentage of all areas

11

10

10

11

9

50+

(1)100

(1)100

(2)

(1)100

(2)

Percentage of all areas

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

(2)

Under 50

2,200

2,200

2,200

2,300

1,800

Percentage of all areas

10

10

10

11

9

All other areas

19,400

20,200

19,300

18,700

17,300

Percentage of all areas

89

90

90

89

91

50+

600

600

700

500

(1)400

Percentage of all areas

3

3

3

2

2

Under 50

18,800

19,600

18,700

18,200

16,900

Percentage of all areas

87

87

87

86

88

(1 )Numbers are based on very few sample cases and subject to a high degree of sampling variation. These should be used as a guide to the current situation only. (2 )Denotes nil negligible. Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. 2. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Source: DWP Information Centre, five per cent data.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been disqualified from receiving incapacity benefit under section 171 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 in each year between 2000 and 2005, broken down by condition of the claimant. [90971]

Mrs. McGuire: Section 171 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 relates to statutory maternity pay (SMP). Disallowances of incapacity benefit due to receipt of SMP are not recorded centrally and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


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